Holiday! Part the second.

Snapshots of my Gibraltar Holiday

Snapshots of my Gibraltar Holiday

Slightly later than “tomorrow” but better late than never for the second instalment of my holiday fun.

Thursday 23rd May

After showering in some very posh-but-lethal marble floored showers (which are a good 15-minute walk away from the marina and for which you have to pay a €75 deposit for the key) we left our mooring and manoeuvred back to the harbour office of Sotogrande to return the shower key and the ‘special’ adaptor for the electrics (for another €75 deposit) we left – with our deposits – at around 10am.  We made good progress south towards the rock as the wind was blowing from a kinder direction than the day before; we were able to keep a close reach and averaged 20 knots.

Once we got into the lea of the Rock the wind speed dropped to about 17 knots but as it was a sunny day we had to look out for Katabatic winds and gusts of up to 30 knots (increasing later to 20 knots and 40 knot gusts); the main sail was trimmed, the jib furled and the engine switched on to avoid being completely blindsided by the gusts.

Rounding Euorpoa Point, we had 3 knots of tide and 30 knots of wind on the nose which, although tricky, was at least better than the wind and the tide in opposition otherwise the waves would have been much bigger.  Our instructor Les took the helm round the point and into the bay – a good job as it was some really rather tricky stuff – tacking like mad against the wind and the tide to make any headway.  As high-water passed, the passage got a little easier and the journey through the bay towards La Linea and the Alcadessa marina was calm enough to grab a bite of lunch.

Alcadessa is a lovely new marina in La Linea with floating & finger pontoons – another new experience for our training.  Lovely new showers, RFID cards for access onto the pontoons and shower blocks and generally looks lovely (the panorama shot above is of Alcadessa).  However, looking around the marina you can see the signs of the recession: large plots of land that had been set aside for restaurants, shops and a macdonalds going to scrub and a lot of new but empty apartment blocks.

After John and Steve offered to wash down the boat after our soggy passage round the rock and we were all showered and changed, we had a sneaky beverage on deck (G&T for the boys, sparkling water for me!) and then headed out to a Chinese restaurant recommended by Les which had a very good deal for €20, which included starters, mains and all the beer you could drink.

We then headed back to the marina and had a few rounds of ‘guess the intro’ which Steve had found on his phone and the guys were all impressed that I got so many of them as they were from the 60s and 70s.  My answer: Radio 2 from a young age!

Friday 24th May

An early start from Alcadessa to head back to Gibraltar and swap boats: the other course had managed to blow up their engine and our instructor had suggested that the other course take out our boat, ‘Bombay Saphire’,  and we take out the neighbouring Bavaria, ‘Queens’.  We later found out that our instructor owned ‘Queens’ and the company owned ‘Bombay Saphire’ and I think Les would rather keep an eye on his girl!

Whilst waiting for the other course on ‘Rockstar’ to return, we headed out for a coffee before swapping onto ‘Queens’ and headed back into the bay to practice anchoring (laying and weighing) and grabbing a bit of lunch whilst anchored.  After lunch we practiced ‘man overboard’ techniques as well as tacking and gybing before heading back into the marina for the end of the course at 5pm.

After the course ended, it was time to take out my plaits which I had kept in all week to keep my hair out of the way and wash out all the salt!

In the evening we (being John, Steve and I) headed out to dinner with some of the Rock Sailing staff and their fast-track yachtmaster students (Amanda, Stroker – or Steve from Minnesota, Kate, another Steve and Naz).  We ended up at a Brazilian restaurant where we got an all you could eat deal for £18.50 and then I headed back to the boat for bed before midnight, leaving John, Steve, Amanda and Stroker heading out for more drinks.

Saturday 25th May

With my flight at 1pm, Saturday consisted of a lazy breakfast at Biancas before getting a taxi to the airport then it was a case of reversing the journey out: flight (slept for most of it), waiting with a coffee at the airport for the coach to take me home to Ringwood.


I really enjoyed this holiday, my first one since 2009, and it was so much more fun than sitting by the pool thinking “this is good for me” but being bored out of my mind.  I also think, with hindsight that a poolside holiday consisting of sleeping in and generally lazing about would have considerably set me back in managing my CFS as it is all about consistency and routine.  If I had spent a week doing nothing, my average activity would have taken a drop and it would have taken me a frustratingly long time to build them back up again.  I am still, after 2-weeks back, struggling with stairs after a week of not encountering any.

These realisations have given me a lot to think about in relation to graded exercise therapy (GET) and how useful it was to me in my recovery.  I will have more on that in coming weeks but for now I have some invoices to raise.

2 thoughts on “Holiday! Part the second.

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